How do you? Fried? Scrambled? Poached? Sunny-side up? Over easy? Blackened? As an omelette? Boiled? If so, hard, medium or soft? Au nature or with salt? Hot sauce? Ketchup? Salsa & cheddar? Hollandaise? Mayo? Mustard? Horse radish? Bacon? Links? Grits? Hash? Toast or muffin?

For Julia Roberts -- who in these-here parts is famous for living, er, next to me (given her 60+ acres property, it's easy to be Julia's neighbor in Arroyo Seco if you share her fence anywhere down the line) -- for Julia's character in Runaway Bride, this question over eggs turns vital. You see, her male lead Richard Gere from Pretty Woman points out a fatal flaw in her character. Having eluded marriage four times before, each time during the actual wedding ceremony, he reminds her that during her time with each of her would-be husbands, she'd confessed to favoring a different kind of egg. Clearly, she didn't know what she wanted. How could she expect to decide on a husband? This being a Julia-type romantic comedy, a happy ending is assured. To prove that she finally does know what she wants -- Richard, of course -- she prepares eggs any which way possible, serves them all at once, samples and finally realizes which egg she likes best.

In my case, that's soft-boiled so that the yellow just begins to cloud over but the core is still runny. I get there by putting the eggs in warm water, then clocking 3 minutes and 30 seconds (45 seconds if the egg's really big) once the water begins to boil. Ivette, on the other hand, couldn't be bothered to time our eggs. Much to the chagrin of my inner control freak, she gets them perfect more often than not. Intuition? Female witch craft? Cheating? Whatever.

If you've read John Atkinson's recording notes, you already know that the whole notion of "the actual event" (the recording session) is a figment of the imagination. In order to arrive at a pleasingly realistic recreation of the original venue, JA itemizes sundry tricks of the trade that go far beyond simply capturing what the microphones recorded - once you decide on what type of microphone in what exact location to employ in the first place.

Neither the absolute sound nor the unvarnished truth about the recording session thus exist. Beyond purist approaches, the world of overdubs, compression limiters, artificial ambience, e-mailed in tracks from a different recording venue etc. really rings the final death toll over any audiophile concerns with recreating the one and only truth. Much the same has been said about the variances involved about where you sit inside a performance hall - dead-center, off to the side, row 10 or balcony.

Even though you and I won't get paid a few millions to figure out what type of egg we fancy most -- nor would we look as good figuring it out -- we should finally make peace with the fact that the perfect egg doesn't exist. You may have a favorite but even then, how to arrive at that egg still isn't clear-cut or possible only one way. And why even limit yourself to just one kind of egg if you're already married? Next time some review or fellow 'phile wants to reinforce the my-way-or-the-highway regimen (with "my way"
presumably the truth of the recording session, the master tape, the actual performance), remember to not get egg on your face but recognize that the other guy or magazine or review is a bad egg. However you like it is the perfect egg. By the way, even size isn't set in stone. Did you know that a single Ostrich orb is the equivalent of 24 chicken eggs? So have fun in your aural kitchen and prepare your eggs any which way your heart desires. That's the truth that matters.